<span class="ev_code_RED">So far so...frustrated. Botman from Gearbox gives us some answers, worth an official preview?</span>
So why this pain in the a*s delay?
Yep. I know it sucks having to wait. You hear all these rumors about release dates and features and nobody on the inside is providing any solid answers.
All I can suggest is to ignore anything you see on any website other than Ubisoft or Gearbox. If some mom and pop games store announces that they have a confirmed release date of (insert some random date here), don't you believe them. Ubisoft will announce when the actual release date is at some point and then everyone will know.
It's actually more about showing things in a "near-complete" form. Showing rough stages of the game only makes people believe that the final game will be like that. When Gearbox and Ubisoft are confident that enough stuff has reached its near final form, more stuff will be released.
What about the E3 demo?
Things that were shown at E3 2006, were polished up specifically for E3. Many of the items shown at E3 weren't the final version of the asset that will be in the game.
We learned a lot when we created the E3 demo. It was the first time we had done anything with the Unreal Engine 3 technology and we discovered that if we used the same process for everything in the final game that we used to create the E3 demo, the game would take about 10 years to finish. We had to re-engineer the way that things were being created. We had to re-work our development process.
Many leaders in the gaming industry have stated that next-gen game development will take much longer than earlier games. You can spend days trying to create something that might only take hours before because there's so much more stuff you have to deal with when creating assets now (high polygon counts, normal mapping, bump mapping, shaders, materials, etc.).
In order to reduce the time it takes to create all the assets that the game required, we had to figure out a way to work smarter, not harder. Many of the assets created for E3 were scrapped and re-done using a more streamlined development process.
We don't develop the game from beginning to end, finishing up everything required for the 1st level/mission before moving on to the next mission. We prioritize things that need to be developed and completed first, then move on to other lower priority stuff. This means that you have very rough versions of some stuff right up until the end of the development cycle. You may have really awesome looking characters in the game, but all the buildings and street textures look like ****. You may have some animations (like running and walking) that look really nice, while you have other animations (like firing weapons or reloading) that are very jerky and don't match up properly with the animations that occur before and after them. These are the types of things where you can't show one thing because something else that would be seen at the same time isn't far enough to be shown yet and would make the game look bad.
It would be great if we could take screenshots of a finished barrel, or house, or tree, or close-up shot of one of the characters in the game and show it to everyone. I don't have the permission to do that. There's lots of stuff that is at its final form, all polished up and ready to be put in the final version of the game. There's also stuff that is still very rough and wouldn't be worth showing yet.
I can't tell you why nothing has been shown in the past year. I don't make those decisions. I don't think that Ubisoft or Gearbox is deliberately holding back stuff do to some kind of diabolical master plan to take over the world or something. We're DEFINITELY not holding back stuff on a game that's done but for some weird reason isn't being released yet. The game's not done. We're still working on it. If it was done, it would be out on store shelves and we would have moved on to the next game.
That is all well and good, but it is not an excuse for promising some info by the end of March, then completely blowing off the deadline.
It is shoddy public relations with their customer base. Someone dropped the ball big time.
dilly56 is correct that a ball has been dropped with respect to informing the user community about the progress of HH. The question is whether Gearbox was remiss in updating us or if UbiSoft is the problem. Gearbox develops the game and the IP but it's Ubisoft who is responsible for the marketing and eventual release dates.
As for Botman - thank you good sir. While a "date certain" would be nice, having an appreciation for the challenges faced in working the new platform (360) and Unreal Engine 3 is helpful in getting us all to take a deep breath and be patient.
As for paying attention to release dates published by "Mom and Pop game stores" like Amazon, GameStop, or EB Games I agree completely - these small-timers shouldn't be trusted. That's Ubisoft's "bad" for putting out dates to distributors, not the fault of the retail outlets (unless they're just making up dates on their own).
Well, the temps here in New Joisey hit the mid-80's today. Time to think about golf, kayaking, and coaching Little League. Hell's Highway can wait until the leaves begin to fall.
Thank you so much for this info, it was much needed. I started to lose hope in this game, I thought nothing was going to happen and it got scrapped or something! This is great to hear, thank you sir, you have all worked hard to make this series grand!